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There's a pun in the title of Doppeldenkspiele's game. Claudio Bierig has designed a game about creating wealth and using it to exercise political control but it's also a game where players are travelling between planets in the solar system and the ruling council you're trying ultimately to buy into is controlling the solar system rather than Earth.

In fact the premise for Plutocracy is that Earth's resources have been exhausted and all that remains on Earth are a few factions. You can join those when you land your space ship on Earth and meet the faction's criteria, and that will earn you councillors, but you'll mostly be travelling between the other planets buying up resources they are selling, and selling them on in turn on planets where those resources are in demand. There are several resources in play (water, carbon, oxygen, uranium and plants). Each planet has a resource they produce and a resource they demand, and the markets for these resources are fluid in that they fall when resources are supplied and they rise when you buy the resource they produce.

In part then, Plutocracy is a pick-up-and-deliver game where you're buying resources where they're cheap and travelling to the planet where you can sell them at a profit: think Frontier Elite but without having to worry about docking, contraband rules or piracy. The money you earn tho' is only a means to an end. You'll want to spend the cash you earn buying seats in a planet's parliament. And these become increasingly expensive as seats are taken: the first seat in a planet's parliament cost just 3 'space euros' and the second seat costs 4 space euros, but the price rise is increasingly sharp so that the last (eighth) seat in a parliament costs 31 space euros! This aspect of Plutocracy is an area control mechanic because the player with the most seats in a planet's parliament will get to send councillors to sit on the solar system's ruling council.

In our plays of Plutocracy at Board's Eye View the standout feature has been the dynamics of movement. Your ship can travel across the board expending time for each hex of movement but the planets all orbit around the sun and, as in the real world, the distance from the sun affects the time it takes for a planet to complete a revolution. That means that the positions of the planets in relation to each other varies through the course of the game, so you will want to take that into account when planning your interplanetary trips. It was the dynamic of changing planetary positions that elevated Bucks Rogers: Battle for the 25th Century (TSR) to one of the best Risk variants and it's what makes Plutocracy more than a mere trading and economic management game.

There are some bonus elements to the game, so you're not just engaged in trading. An asteroid starts off in the outer reaches of the solar system and it's heading towards the sun. There are aliens on board and you can rescue one if you land your ship on the asteroid. It can be worth doing as saving an alien will earn you entry to the scientist society on Earth. And the game includes optional rules and set up arrangements so that you can vary the game. Just don't expect to establish trade or buy parliamentary seats on Pluto - it no longer counts as a planet.

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